Open the stat sheet from Sunday’s game and you’ll see that the Ravens converted 8 of 16 3rd-down opportunities.
Overall efficiency was excellent and the team improved to 7 for 9 in their dominant 2nd half. What’s bothersome is the reliance on rubs and picks to get separation for their slower receivers, most notably Stokley. The other issue is reliance on YAC to convert.
Let’s review those 16 plays:
(Q1, 12:43, 3rd/7) Clark lined up left in the backfield and drifted left uncovered. Flacco threw a strike to him 2 yards from the LoS that Dallas advanced 6 yards after the catch through converging defenders for the first down.
(Q1, 11:18, 3rd/7) Marlon Brown lined up slot left, ran towards the pylon by the left sideline. Flacco dropped in a near perfectly thrown ball that Marlon could not secure for a TD.
(Q1, 6:39, 3rd/6) Flacco threw a little too high for Torrey Smith incomplete 15 yards down the left sideline.
(Q1, 1:59, 3rd/5) Flacco was flushed from the pocket and rolled right under pressure. He overthrew Stokley by several yards. Brandon did not maintain his full depth down the right sideline and the pass fell incomplete.
(Q2, 12:25, 3rd/1) Sheard beat McKinnie inside for initial pressure, but missed. He then returned to clean up for a 5-yard sack.
(Q2, 4:19, 3rd/4) Smith lined up near right and crossed to the left, but was diverted shallow by both ILBs. He caught the ball just a yard from the LoS and was taken down quickly and short of the sticks.
(Q2, 0:42, 3rd/7) Smith lined up slot left and ran a shallow cross. Flacco threw slightly behind him and just 3 yards from the LoS, incomplete.
Flacco and his receivers were much better aligned in the 2nd half:
(Q3, 9:35, 3rd/6) Smith lined up far right in trips and crossed to make a 23 yard catch (21 + 2 YAC), between the numbers and left hash with Haden trailing and in front of Ward.
(Q3, 8:07, 3rd/7) Brown lined up far left, and caught a 10-yard pass (3 + 7 YAC) on a shallow cross in front of Sheard.
(Q3, 6:29, 3rd/8) Stokley lined up slot left, motioned back to that spot, and crossed shallow to take advantage of a pick from Clark. Flacco completed the pass for 11 yards (6 + 5 YAC) with Skrine trailing in coverage.
(Q4, 13:29 3rd/21) Sheard bulled Oher and hit Flacco’s arm as he threw. Smith was the target, but this is the sort of target which should not count in any denominator for receiving effectiveness.
(Q4, 11:48, 3rd/10) Stokley lined up slot left and ran a deep turn inside which Flacco completed between the hashes for a gain of 16 (15 + 1 YAC) in front of Skrine.
(Q4, 10:17, 3rd/8) Marlon Brown lined up far right but the entire 4-receiver set was close to the tackles. Flacco hit Brown on the out route for a gain of 18 (15 + 3 YAC) by the right sideline, covered by Haden.
(Q4, 4:47, 3rd/3) Stokley lined up slot right and used a pick by Smith to get separation to the right. Flacco rolled right and hit him for a 4-yard gain (1 + 3 YAC) to convert.
(Q4, 3:53, 3rd/7) Stokley lined up inside a bunch right. Flacco threw to him for a 5-yard gain (3 + 2 YAC) where Owens contained and Skrine tackled him.
(Q4, 2:00, 3rd/4) Pierce was the tail in a 2 TE, 2 back, offset I formation. Pierce ran left and Bajema’s block delayed Sheard and allowed Bernard outside where he outmaneuvered Jackson to the marker for the game-sealing first down.
The Ravens displayed a consistent substitution pattern on 3rd down with Stokley and Clark entering to replace Dickson and Leach.
Of the 7 conversions by pass, 4 came as a result of YAC with a pass short of the line of gain. Of the 15 total conversion attempts by pass, 7 were thrown short of the sticks. To top it off, Ray Rice, the only receiver they have been able to trust to convert such attempts for the past several seasons, was not targeted on a single one of these passes.
I like the fact the Ravens were effective in manufacturing separation. I just didn’t like the overreliance on such routes.
The scoring is based on 68 offensive snaps for the Ravens, which includes Flacco’s 3 kneels.
McKinnie: Bryant returned to an apathetic day of run blocking and had trouble with the quickness of Barkevious Mingo. He does not regularly make an attempt to block on the back side of any run. Mingo, who reminds me of Aaron Mabin by body type, but not results, blasted by him on the outside to sack Flacco (Q1, 12:19) on one of his first NFL snaps. He twice displayed an outstanding spin move, something you rarely see from a rookie. Scoring: 52 blocks, 10 missed, 1.5 penetrations, 2 pressures, 1.5 sacks, 36 points (.53 per play). Normally, that would be 4+ points from a D-, but the Browns’ edge rushers (Mingo, Sheard, Kruger) are all talented. D-.
Osemele: Cleveland clearly watched the tape from Denver and continued to throw stunts at the Ravens. Osemele and McKinnie had difficulty picking them up. I split responsibility for the sack by Sheard and Bryant (Q2, 12:25) when Sheard beat McKinnie inside with a swim move and Bryant stunted across the face of Osemele and outside of McKinnie. Scoring: 58 blocks, 5 missed, 2.25 pressures, ½ sack, 50.5 points (.74 per play). C, with a slight upgrade for quality of competition.
Gradkowski: Gradkowski recovered from a pancake pressure from Taylor on the opening play (Q1, 15:00) and a shared pressure when unable to block Bryant 2 plays later (Q1, 14:37). He also allowed a slow-developing QH to Winn (Q3, 2:16), but turned in a game consistent with his week 1 effort versus the Broncos. 62 blocks, 3 missed, 1.75 pressures, 1 QH, 55.5 points (.82 per play). I’m going to upgrade him to a C based on the quality of the Browns’ front 7.
Yanda: It was another day at the office for the Ravens’ best offensive player. He has now gone 21 games without being party to a sack (he gave up 2 in the divisional playoff game versus the Texans in 2011). Scoring: 63 blocks, 3 missed, 1.25 pressures, 60.5 points (.89 per play). A-.
Oher: Michael missed his last block of the first half to ruin a perfect score, but still had a solid game. He was shed by Kruger for a penetration (Q4, 10:51) on which Pierce was taken down for a loss of 1. He was also party to 3 2nd-half pressures. Scoring: 61 blocks, 3 missed, 1 penetration, 2.25 pressures, 54.5 points (.80 per play). B.
Other Offensive Notes:
- Flacco had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 15 of 35 drop backs (43%).
- With ATS Flacco completed 11 of 15 for 123 yards, 0 TDs, and 0 INT (8.3 YPP). That’s approximately 5 yards worse than his expectation based on his 2010-12 results (8.6 YPP).
- Without ATS he was 11 of 18 for 90 gross yards with a TD and took 2 sacks for 14 (76 net yards). That’s 3.8 YPP, which is very close to his average for the last 3 years as well.